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On the Bottom Rung

Jordanna Platt

I was in my third year of medical school, and the initial week of my first-ever hospital clerkship had passed without incident. I showed up on time, did what I was told, stepped on no toes and followed my patients as well as I could. 

At the close of that week, however, my intern pulled me aside to ask, “Remember learning how to put an IV in a mannequin during the workshop earlier

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Lost in the Numbers

Donald Stewart

A nurse entered the operating room; her eyes–the only part of her face visible above her surgical mask–held a look of mild distress. She stood quietly until the surgeon noticed her.

“What is it?” he said.

“It’s your patient in 208, Doctor. His pressure is 82.”


“Yes, Doctor.”

The nurse was referring to Mr. Johnson. The previous week, we’d removed a small tumor from his lung without difficulty–and, until now, without complications.

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The Case of the Screaming Man

Paula Lyons

As everyone knows, the human body has orifices. Occasionally, these become occluded, or occupied, by things that aren’t supposed to be there. Every doctor knows this, as does almost everyone else. Who hasn’t heard, as a child, the cautionary phrase “Don’t stick beans up your nose”?

Human nature being what it is, almost every clinician must deal with foreign objects–flora, fauna–that have been put into places where they don’t belong. Sometimes, though,

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The Resilient Heart

Paula Lyons

He was applying for a job on a refuse truck working for the City. This is a very good job for someone whose hiring prospects are otherwise limited. Excellent benefits, all state and federal holidays off, health insurance for oneself and one’s family, physical exercise in the fresh air. (All right, this was Camden, New Jersey, so exercise in some kind of air.) And one more plus: If the team is efficient and

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Intern’s Journal–Surprises

Jennifer Reckrey

Editor’s note: Jennifer Reckrey is a family medicine resident in New York City. Each week while she was an intern, Dr. Reckrey recorded some of her experiences as a brand-new doctor. Today’s stories are from weeks number nine and twenty-five.

Week Nine

I dreaded my rotation in the Intensive Care Unit. Though all the tools to keep a body alive are right there, their continuous bells and beeps jangle my nerves. I’m

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